Martyrs Patermuthius, Coprius, and Alexander the Soldier, in Egypt

The Hosiomartyrs Patermuthius and Coprius, and the Martyr Alexander suffered under the emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363).

Patermuthius at first was a pagan and also the head of a band of robbers, but then he repented, was baptized and withdrew into the desert. The monk devoted all the rest of his life to attending the sick and burying the dead. For his love of toil and efforts, Patermuthius received from God the gift of wonderworking.

The priest Coprius was an eyewitness of the doings of the venerable Patermuthius and recorded his life and miracles. Saint Coprius narrated this Life to the presbyter Rufinus, who in turn transmitted it to Palladius, Bishop of Hellenopolis, who included the account in his book, the Lausiac History.

Once Saint Coprius entered into a debate with the heretic Manicheus, and seeing that he could not prevail against him in dispute, he suggested that a large fire be lit, and that they should go into it together. In this way, the Lord Himself would decide whose was the true Faith. Manicheus refused to go in first, but Coprius went into the fire, and standing in the midst of the flames, he remained unharmed. The people glorified the faith of Coprius, and they threw the heretic into the fire. He jumped out all scorched and tried to flee, but they caught him and again cast him into the flames. Saint Coprius then calmed the crowd and let Manicheus go.

When the emperor heard about the Egyptian hermits, he ordered them to be brought to him, and he tried to turn them to paganism. He said that he had formerly served Christ, but had learned that only the pagan gods could provide salvation.

Coprius was deceived by these words of the emperor and he denied Christ. By the prayers and tears of his Elder he came to understand what a mistake he had made. He repented and again confessed himself a Christian. The emperor became enraged and ordered that Coprius be tortured. Patermuthius encouraged his brother monk to be brave and endure. One of the soldiers, whose name was Alexander, saw the terrible sufferings of Coprius, and believed in Christ. He was sentenced to be burned alive. Saints Patermuthius and Coprius were beheaded by the sword.